Jean-Louis Chave

A Mini Hermitage Vertical in Bottles and Magnums

A favorite Domaine of mine, the legendary Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, is one that traces its origins back to 1481. On the hill of Hermitage, where Syrah flourishes into some of the variety’s finest examples, many domaines bottle their Hermitage by parcel. You will often see vineyard names as Les Bessards and Le Méal mentioned on the label, as these are some of the ideal parcels on the hill.

Jean-Louis Chave’s approach is one of blending. Having parcels in most of the lieux-dits of Hermitage, he looks to achieve a finesse that can be replicable year after year by adjusting the blend of vineyards, depending on the vintage. The Rhone region can vary considerably depending on the vintage. Jean-Louis understood that and has become a master at blending the hill of Hermitage’s parcels, which provide a large palette from which he can play. His Syrahs are some of the most sought-after in the world today, perhaps this is the testament to their unique character.

He achieves an unparalleled elegance in his wines and they have such style you recognize them instantly. Known for being very long-lived, I find that even in their youth they are approachable and enjoyable. They always display a freshness and purity without any heaviness. The texture is silky smooth, the fruit is pure and spicy, and the secret is once again in the harmony and balance that Jean-Louis achieves.

We have a wide range of vintages available from 2010 to present releases, including the widely acclaimed 2015 and the legendary 1989 in magnum. There is truly something magical about these wines. I personally like the 2013 which drinks very well today and offers excellent value. It is hard to really say which are the “lesser-vintages” as they all have an expression of their own.